Press Release

Rosenbach Acquires Objects from Stephen Colbert’s I Am a Pole (And So Can You!)

Colbert Collection to Be on Display at the Rosenbach in Limited-Time Exhibition

PHILADELPHIA, PA – The Rosenbach Museum & Library, noted for its outstanding collection of rare books, manuscripts, and art, is pleased to announce the acquisition of materials from television host and, more recently, “children’s book” author, Stephen Colbert. Colbert recently donated to the Rosenbach working materials from his book, I Am a Pole (And So Can You!), firmly planting his flagpole among the likes of renowned authors such as James Joyce, Joseph Conrad, and Bram Stoker, among others whose manuscripts are part of the Rosenbach collection.

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In January 2012, millions of viewers watched Colbert and the late Maurice Sendak banter during an interview on TheColbert Report. When Sendak blessed Colbert’s idea for I Am a Pole (And So Can You!) by saying, “The sad thing is, I like it,” Colbert followed through, producing and publishing the book just a few months later in May.The book, now on the New York Times bestseller list, is the tale of a pole searching for its true calling, attempting many different jobs ranging from a fishing pole to a Gallup poll to a tadpole before finding its “true pole role” as an American flagpole.

“The Rosenbach is honored to receive Colbert’s materials from I Am a Pole and delighted that Colbert will join the ranks of the many respected authors whose materials reside in our collection,” said Derick Dreher, John C. Haas Director of the Rosenbach. “Colbert shows the obvious influence of Joyce in his quasi-autobiographical story of a likeable main character embarking on an odyssey of self-discovery. The Rosenbach is just as interested in the classics of tomorrow as in proven masterpieces and will be pleased to display the Colbert materials alongside other great examples of English literature and American history.”

Related Exhibition

To celebrate this grand acquisition, the Rosenbach will host a limited-time exhibition, Maurice Sendak and Stephen Colbert: Interviews, Objects…and Poles!, through November 11, 2012. The exhibition will include items such as Colbert’s fair-copy manuscript of I Am a Pole, footage from Colbert’s interviews with Sendak, cut-outs of the explicit “body parts” from Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen, and even the markers sniffed by the two during their interview. Additionally, the exhibition will feature a sampling of other fine poles found in the Rosenbach’s literary and artistic collections.

Related Program

Conversation with the Curator

Thursday, August 2, 2012. 6–7 p.m.

Free with museum admission. No registrationrequired.

Get the inside scoop on Maurice Sendak & Stephen Colbert: Interviews, Objects…and Poles! This informal presentation is led by exhibition curators Judith Guston and Patrick Rodgers. They’ll talk about how Stephen Colbert’s materials related to I am a Pole came to live at the Rosenbach and answer questions as you explore the exhibitionfurther.